Just a few days ago, I wrote an article for The Sportster listing the top 15 WWE wrestlers that were jobbers before they came stars.
If you take a glance at the list, you would see that all of the wrestlers that were featured took their turns as jobbers during the 1980s up until the mid-1990s. The main reason behind that is because back in those days, the WWE utilized jobbers on their everyday – and more notably, free – television product. Instead of giving away big matches between two stars each week, the company would hire local talent to take on the top stars as a way to establish themselves as household names, while looking strong in the process.
However, as the times changed in the wrestling industry, so did the use of enhancement talent.
During the rise of the Attitude Era, the WWE creative team made it a point to make each wrestler on the roster stand out; sure, there were wrestlers who lost a majority of their matches, but no longer were there generically named and looking talents, and instead were wrestlers with various types of gimmicks.
While that tradition from the late 90s era has transitioned into today’s period of professional wrestling, there are still plenty of wrestlers who could easily fit under the jobber mold if this was 1990 instead of 2015. Sure, they look like a character that should be featured prominently on WWE programming – unfortunately, the talents are nowhere near booked like one.
With that being said, here are 15 current WWE wrestlers that could easily be classified as glorified jobbers.
15 Adam Rose
When Adam Rose revamped his gimmick in NXT, it got over with their audience; however, when he brought his partying gimmick to the main roster, it was only a matter of time before it failed – and it did miserably. On top of that, the WWE has the tendency to mess up opportunities, and they did so mightily after Rose garnered the adoration from much of the WWE Universe after ESPN’s E60 special on NXT. During the program, Rose was highlighted, and in it featured his struggles from before he became a wrestler, his stagnant NXT character, his family life and his eventual success from his party-character.
Unfortunately, the situation wasn’t even addressed on television, thus proving they didn’t have much interest in the wrestler. While he uses a party-pooper gimmick nowadays, he still loses almost all matches he is involved in.
14 Damien Sandow
Speaking of messing up opportunities, there wasn’t one that was mishandled as poorly as Damien Sandow’s Mizdow gimmick. From August of 2014 until this February, both Sandow and The Miz formed an unlikely yet highly entertaining tag-team, which saw them win and successfully defend the WWE Tag Team Championships on multiple occasions. Jealously ensued, as fans were fully behind Sandow, yet booed everything The Miz did. As tension was building, and split, face turn and strong mid card push seemed to be in the cards for the former Money in the Bank winner.
However, after the he eliminated The Miz in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 31, a short and lackluster feud between the two put an end to any hopes of singles stardom. While Sandow gave a heartfelt speech on Raw that appeared to make him a serious character, it seems that the creative team views him as nothing more than a comedy act that loses matches.
13 Curtis Axel
Next up on this list is actually the man who teamed with Sandow before they both fell off, Curtis Axel. While Axel – the son of WWE Hall of Famer Curt Hennig – wasn’t able to live up to the lofty standards of his dad, he played a solid role in the mid card scene after he split with The New Nexus and worked in NXT, which included becoming a Paul Heyman Guy and an Intercontinental Champion as well. However, after those storylines plus a tag team with Ryback didn’t work out, Axel went back to the drawing board and split time between NXT and WWE.
He then found a comedy act that found him a role on television; because he was attacked before entering the 2015 Royal Rumble match, he deemed himself the true winner of the contest, including the popular hashtag of “AxelMania.” Because of the nickname, he started impersonate Hulk Hogan, while Sandow impersonated Randy Savage, thus making the tag team named “The Meta Powers.” Unfortunately, because of Hogan’s firing from WWE, Axel returned to his original gimmick and hasn’t been seen much since.
12 The Ascension
Unfortunately for The Ascension, they followed the same path that Adam Rose went down when they went from NXT to the main roster. While on the developmental brand, Konnor and Viktor were not only vastly over with the crowd, but were also arguably the brand’s greatest tag team, with a 364-day reign as NXT Tag Team Champions. When various vignettes were featured on both Raw and Smackdown programming, it looked like The Ascension’s success would translate to the WWE and their loyal fans.
Unfortunately, bad booking from the get-go has hurt the team in a bad way; less than a month after their debut, the duo was embarrassed in the ring by the New Age Outlaws, the nWo and the APA, and have had trouble regaining steam since. Although they have formed a faction with Stardust known as The Cosmic Wasteland, it appears that the booking committee still doesn’t have serious plans for them.
Cody Rhodes' talent is definiely that of someone who deserves more but this is the reality right now. When was the last time Rhodes got a meaningful victory? That would be back when he was teaming with Goldust, but since breaking out on his own as Stardust, he's on the losing end far more often than he should be. It's a real shame that WWE has not capitalized on Cody's talent, as he's a guy who could shine in a main event program.
10 Zack Ryder
For Zack Ryder, his fall from grace was a lot harder to watch than almost anyone else on the roster. After being featured as a lackey for Edge over the first couple of years in the WWE, Ryder – now floundering as a Jersey Shore-esque character – took matters into his own hands. Since he wasn’t getting television time, Ryder used YouTube as a platform to showcase his charisma, and over time, had one of the most popular shows on the website. Because the fans were clamoring for him, Ryder got his shot, and by the end of 2011, he was featured on Raw regularly while also winning the United States Championship.
However, after being inserted into the John Cena and Kane storyline, he was used poorly, which resulted in Ryder returning to the bottom of the card. Because of less and less wrestling time on both Raw and Smackdown, Ryder now works in NXT as one half of the Hype Bros with Mojo Rawley.
While Adam Rose and The Ascension had their characters set from their time in WWE’s developmental territories, Fandango began his WWE journey as Johnny Curtis, which even saw him win season four of the television show NXT. However, after failing to stick on the main roster portrayed as Curtis, he made a new character for himself that was based as a ballroom dancer – Fandango. After months of vignettes, his debut came with much fanfare, as not only did he enter a feud with future WWE Hall of Famer Chris Jericho, but he also beat him at WrestleMania XXIX in his first match under his new moniker.
While Fandango has been featured in multiple programs for the Intercontinental Championship while also competing in the Money in the Bank ladder match in 2013, he has largely been used as a wrestler to help show the talents of others.
8 Jack Swagger
Another very tough fall from grace to watch over the years was that of Jack Swagger. After excelling as a two-sport athlete at the University of Oklahoma, Swagger joined the WWE and was appointed as one of the young faces of the ECW brand. After winning their championship, he moved onto both Raw and Smackdown, in which he won and successfully cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase.
He also participated in notable feuds for both the United States and Intercontinental Championships, along with forming a strong tag team known as The Real Americans with Cesaro. Unfortunately, after feuding with and losing to Rusev during the end of 2014, he has rarely been featured on television, save for any backstage brawls or lumberjack matches.
7 Heath Slater
Although he was never one to stand out, there were two great things working in his favor: one was that he was a part of and one of the key members to the original Nexus, while also being the head of the comedic trio Three Man Band. The other great thing that worked in his favor was that he was known to be very skilled in the ring – so much so that he feuded with multiple WWE legends like Vader and Sycho Sid,, amongst others, while also working almost exclusively with Bret Hart when he wrestled in a couple of matches back in 2010. Unfortunately, however, that also worked against him as well. Because he was seen as someone who was safe in the ring, Slater was generally used as a comedy talent that is there to get others over. Nowadays, Slater is hardly featured on WWE’s main programming.
6 King Barrett
Out of all the people featured on this list, there are none that could be as big of a star as King Barrett could be if he was given the chance – unfortunately, those plans don’t seem to be in the cards. After Barrett performed admirably on both NXT and as the leader of the original Nexus, he certainly appeared to be one of the WWE’s next bright young stars.
Unfortunately, start and stop pushes, forgettable feuds and injuries have hindered his growth. Although Barrett is a five-time Intercontinental Champion, his reigns were uninspiring; and although he had the popular “Bad News” gimmick, the WWE instead decided to scrap those when he won the 2015 King of the Ring tournament. The only thing that resembled a king was his name and a crown, as Barrett continues to lose week in and week out after emerging victorious.
5 Bo Dallas
Although Bo Dallas had a comedic element to his character while in NXT, the mean streak that he would break out during matches gave him added depth – which is why he was so successful on the brand, as he became the youngest NXT Champion in its history. After packages aired featuring a motivational speaker of sorts, Dallas made his full-time debut on the WWE roster in 2014. After having his winning streak reach 17, Dallas lost his first match to... R-Truth. That ruined any momentum Dallas had. A
fter uninspiring feuds during the latter half of 2014, Dallas injured his foot and returned at WrestleMania 31 in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The last time he was shown on television, Brock Lesnar was tossing him around the ring with German suplexes and an F5.
Sure, R-Truth is one of the most respected veterans on the roster; however, that doesn’t mean he can’t be used as a modern day jobber. When R-Truth made his return to the WWE in 2008, he was featured in many programs and storylines, most notably his United States Championship reign, Little Jimmy, the Awesome Truth team feuding with John Cena and The Rock and a match for the WWE Championship. However, other than his brief Intercontinental Championship program heading into the seven-man Ladder Match for the title at WrestleMania 31, R-Truth has largely been used as a glorified enhancement talent for the better part of the last two years with the company.
3 Xavier Woods
Don’t get me wrong: Xavier Woods is arguably the most entertaining WWE talent on the roster right now, while the New Day is arguably the WWE’s greatest act on television. Unfortunately for Woods, it is both Kofi Kingston and Big E who get all the shine as the WWE Tag Team Champions. While the New Day is very popular, Woods hasn’t had the WWE careers that both Kingston and Big E have had, which is why he is generally used as the trio’s mouthpiece. On top of that, he is the subject to get beat down by opposing teams, including being put through tables by the Dudley Boyz on multiple occasions.
2 The Miz
It’s sad to say that a former main event for a WrestleMania show is currently used as a de-facto jobber, but unfortunately for The Miz, that is exactly the role he is playing on WWE television. On top of that, The Miz not only main evented WrestleMania 27, but he also is a former WWE Champion, Money in the Bank winner and won the Intercontinental, United States and Tag Team Championships on multiple occasions throughout his career, all the while defeating the odds, as many thought he would never make it as a WWE wrestler.
Unfortunately for him, today you won't be seeing The Miz succeed inside of the ring. Instead, he is used as a annoying, whiney heel that loses the majority of the (meaningful) matches that he wrestles in.
1 Mark Henry
When you look at Mark Henry’s resume, there is no doubt that he will be a WWE Hall of Famer some day; the World’s Strongest Man is a former World Heavyweight Champion, while also reinventing himself multiple times. Ranging from the Nation of Domination to Sexual Chocolate to the Hall of Pain, Henry has always been displayed as a top level talent that should be a force to be reckoned with anytime he stepped foot into the squared circle – that is, until the last couple of years on television.
In recent memory, Henry has been the subject to squash matches from Rusev, Sheamus and The Big Show, among others – and that in and of itself makes him the definition of a glorified jobber in today’s WWE.